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Qatar's Emir Promises to Step Up Ties, Invest $250 Billion in US

Qatar's Emir Promises to Step Up Ties, Invest $250 Billion in US
President Donald Trump shakes hands with HH the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani during a meeting in the Oval Office on April 10. (Photo: AP/Mark Wilson)

By    |   Friday, 13 April 2018 06:17 PM

President Donald Trump’s meeting this week with Qatar’s emir will be a boon to the American economy as the Gulf State leader promised to boost trade and investment with the U.S. to about $250 billion.

HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani told his hosts at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce reception after the White House meeting that his country planned to double its investment in the U.S., currently at $125 billion.

The announcement was one part of a widely praised week-long trip of the Qatar leader to the U.S.

During their meeting, President Trump said the Qataris had been “great friends” and that the emir was committed to cutting off the flow of money to terrorists.

“We do not and we will not tolerate people who fund terrorism,” the emir pledged. “We’ve been cooperating with the United States to stop funding terrorism around the region.”

The emir also thanked President Trump for his personal effort to resolve the crisis between Qatar and its Arab neighbors, led by Saudi Arabia, over Qatar’s relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran.

The crisis has led to his nation’s diplomatic isolation in the region and an economic blockade.

Last June, Trump called Qatar “a funder of terror at a very high level.”

But the New York Times reports the president now believes that Qatar has worked closely with U.S. agencies to root out terrorist funding.

In a telephone call this month with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, President Trump demanded that the kingdom and its Arab partners quickly end a nearly year-old dispute with Qatar that has left U.S. allies in the region fractured, Reuters reported.

White House sources tell Newsmax they expect Qatar will be a strong U.S. ally in the coming months as it confronts Iran over defects in the agreement President Obama made with Tehran relating to their nuclear and missile programs.

On Tuesday, Trump offered effusive praise for Al-Thani.

“He’s very popular in his country,” he said. “His people love him. We’re working on unity in that part of the Middle East, and I think it’s working out very well.”

Trump noted during the meeting that oil-rich Qatar “buys a lot of equipment from us…a lot of purchases in the United States, and a lot of military airplanes, missiles, lots of different things.”

Qatar has been a long-time ally of the U.S. and has allowed use of its territory for military operations since the early 1990s.

In 2003, after Saudi Arabia asked all U.S. troops to exit its territory and close the U.S. airbase there, Qatar immediately opened up its Al Udeid airbase to 10,000 American servicemen and invested $1 billion to upgrade facilities.

Al Udeid has been the main center of the U.S. air war on ISIS. Al-Thani began his visit to the U.S. with a stop at Centcom, the U.S. military command for the Middle East in Tampa, Fla.

The emir later met with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the Pentagon.

According to The Washington Post, Mattis called Qatar’s support for the war against ISIS “critical.” He added, “We don’t take this relationship for granted, and we appreciate what you do.”

Economic news, however, dominated the Emir’s visit, among the developments:

  • Exxon Mobil Corp. revealed Thursday talks to diversify Qatar’s energy holdings beyond the Middle East by participating in the development of U.S. shale oil deposits. Exxon hopes to enlist Doha’s financial support for a huge, $10 billion natural gas export project Exxon seeks to launch in East Texas.
  • The Trump administration announced an agreement to sell Qatar $300 million in precision-guided missiles. Some analysts expect Qatar to seek more weapons purchases in the months ahead.
  • Bloomberg reported Qatar already announced plans to spend another $18 billion in investments in the United States by 2020.
  • Qatar Airways announced on April 10 it had signed a letter of intent to buy five Boeing 777 freighter jets in a deal valued at $1.7 billion

As part of his tour to promote business ties, the emir met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, as well as state and local leaders, to discuss projects in Florida, Texas, South Carolina and Washington, D.C.

The emir left Washington Friday on a high note, having tweeted: “I had great talks with President Trump. We discussed strategic and regional issues including the grave situation in Syria, and as for the [Gulf states] rift, we both agreed it should be resolved by dialogue as it’s doing unnecessary harm and impeding the fight against terrorism.”

The praise for Al-Thani’s visit reached all the way to media outlets in the Middle East.

The Gulf Times in an editorial called it a “landmark meeting,” adding that it took “the strategic partnership between the two countries to a significantly higher level.”

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President Donald Trump's meeting this week with Qatar's emir will be a boon to the American economy as the Gulf State leader promised to boost trade and investment with the U.S. to about $250 billion.
emir tamim, qatar, donald trump, middle east
Friday, 13 April 2018 06:17 PM
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